Day 8: Red Robin – Mary’s Notes

And then there are the times when a thing misrepresents itself so much that you have to speak up. The Red Robin burger, even more than the Burgers’-n-Cream burger, is a fast food burger billed and disguised as “gourmet.” I chose RR because it was recommended by a friend whose taste I respected until about two hours ago.

I’ve read, in recent times, on internet message boards and industry mags about how processed food producers are employing research – both nutritional and anthropological – to induce consumers to buy and eat and buy and eat and buy and eat. For exmple, it’s known that we like foods that are crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. We like sugar. We like fried fat. We like salt. If a food producer can give us everything we want in a small dense portion, that costs next-to-nothing to make, we’ll return to the trough again and again without a thought. That information came to the forefront, almost from my second or third bite of an appetizer that offered a mix of two greasy and sweet and salty and crunchy exteriored and soft interiored items – onion rings and mozzarella sticks. Funny thing though, these foods had all that we love except any real flavor, unless you put them in the restaurant’s dipping sauces. They looked beautiful though; perfectly formed and presented in a neat holder. Enough of that, let’s get to the burger.

Juiciness – 3. This was a pre-made patty and “medium” was the restaurant’s lowest-temp served. I looked closely to see if I might have been missing something but the interior was like Lake Lanier circa 2008. A little water, but not enough to float a boat.

Flavor – 4. There was some, in two areas where brown bits managed to form on the grill and mingle with the cheese.

Attractiveness – 9. This was a very pretty burger, as was all the food. Minus a point for pre-shredded lettuce.

Atmosphere 7 – The restaurant also was attractive, in an ADD Pizzeria Uno meets Hanna-Barbera kind of way.

Digestivity – 5. All that grease adds up and lingers.

Overall experience: 4 minus. I know that there are people who like this kind of place and this kind of food; they feel safe eating here, because if you’ve got a chain of restaurants across the country, you must be doing something right, right? You must be doing something that a lot of people all over the country like, right? As Oscar Wilde wrote, “for those who like that sort of thing, it’s the sort of thing they like.” If you’re not, I’d recommend you try one of the other places – even the chains – Higgins and I gave better grades to. 

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